DALLAS (AP) — On a night when his jumper wasn’t falling, Anthony Davis still found a way to do some damage in the paint.
And he had plenty of help.
Jrue Holiday scored 30 points, Nikola Mirotic added 24 in a rare start and the New Orleans Pelicans won their eighth in a row, 126-109 over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.
Davis finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds, scoring most of his points from inside 5 feet. Rajon Rondo added 14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
New Orleans has averaged 127 points during its streak and cleared 118 in all eight games.
“We are just playing fast,” Davis said. “When we play fast, we are able to score in transition and get a lot of easy looks.”
Holiday scored 19 in the first half as the Pelicans held a double-digit lead for most of the last three quarters, save for one fleeting Dallas run at the start of the fourth.
“To me, Jrue is probably if not the best two-way player we have in our game,” Rondo said. “One through four, he can check those guys. I think people are starting to see what he’s doing just because of this win streak, but he’s been doing it his whole career.”
Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 23 points for the Mavericks, passing Elvin Hayes for eighth all-time in field goals with 10,980.
Dallas opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run after scoring the final five in the third quarter to get within 91-87. Kyle Collinsworth scored on a three-point play, and Nowitzki and J.J. Barea hit 3-pointers.
After calling timeout, New Orleans reinserted Davis and Rondo, and the Pelicans answered with 10 straight points, including 3s by Holiday and Mirotic.
“They’ve got some answers over there and they’re playing well,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.
Dennis Smith Jr. also scored 23 for Dallas, which has lost three straight and 17 of 21.
Pelicans: Mirotic started in place of Emeka Okafor, who sat out with a sprained right ankle. The 24 points were the most for Mirotic since the Pelicans acquired him from the Bulls on Feb. 1. … Cheick Diallo also had a double-double for the Pelicans, with 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Mavericks: Were without Wesley Matthews, who had a left hip injury. … Scotty Hopson, signed Monday to a 10-day contract, saw his first action for the Mavericks after entering the game with 4:57 left in the first quarter. He scored one point. … Coach Rick Carlisle said it’s possible Dorian Finney-Smith could return to action later this week. Finney-Smith has missed 55 games with left quadriceps tendinitis.
DROWNING OUT THE BOOS
Pelicans guard Rajon Rondo still gets booed nearly every time he gets the ball at American Airlines Center following a turbulent half-season with the Mavericks in 2014-15. But he helped to quiet the crowd by engineering the New Orleans offense and finishing one rebound short of a triple-double.
The 12-year veteran earned the praise of his rookie counterpart Smith.
“He’s a floor general,” Smith said. “He does a great job of communicating with his guys, keeping everybody involved. He was knocking down the jumper today, too.”
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry praised the Mavericks’ run early in the fourth quarter as a sign they’re still going all-out despite owner Mark Cuban’s comments about how losing would benefit the team.
“Anyone who thinks these guys are tanking is crazy,” Gentry said. “I know Harrison Barnes, I know Dirk, I know those guys. When they are out there playing, they are playing to win. We let up a little bit and you saw what happened.”
Carlisle wasn’t as effusive about his own team, saying, “I don’t want to be gushing too many positives after getting beat by 20. That’s just kind of not my thing.”
Pelicans: At the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.
Mavericks: Host Denver on Tuesday.